The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate with friends and family the vast opportunities our country has given us. While we reach the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Independence Day traditions and celebrations are a go, but that may not be the case everywhere. Be sure to check your local restrictions before hosting barbeques. If your state is fully opened and you plan to attend an event, be vigilant about your safety and that of your belongings. Here are a few other tips to help you get through the festivities.
7 Ways to Stay Safe on the Fourth of July
Stay cool and hydrated
July is one of the hottest times of the year and it’s easy to fall victim to sun or heat stroke. Stay cool by being a shade-seeker: bringing an umbrella with you, wearing a hat, or staying under the covered portion of a porch or patio. It’s equally as important to wear sunscreen as well as light and loose clothing.
Finally, don’t forget the water. Many times, we get caught up in festive food and drink options and forget to add in water. Aim for eight cups or more per day, depending on how hot it is outside or how much sweet or salty food you are consuming.
Consider the safety of your food
The heat not only has an impact on you but your food as well. Having a BBQ and thinking of throwing all the meat on one platter outside awaiting the grill? Think again. Keep raw meat and seafood cold until it’s ready to be cooked. Once it’s ready, keep it hot until it’s consumed, then put in the fridge once everyone is done, meaning, don’t let it sit out. Contaminated food or items that have sat out too long can lead to food poisoning.
Be mindful at events
Summer and celebrations mean concerts, BBQs, and state or county fairs. But it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t leave your food, bag, or belongings unattended, and if the event is happening at night, be sure to sick with a friend. Fireworks are prime for theft as they are loud with those watching focused on the show.
Consider your pet
It’s a no-brainer that pets are also affected by the heat, so consider them when attending backyard shindigs or public events. What’s fun for you is not always fun for your dog. Also something they may not like? Fireworks. Avoid bringing them to the show and remember to nurture them if you live in an area where fireworks are usually shot off. Finally, and this goes without saying, but never, ever leave your dog in the car, hot or not.
Practice safety on the road
Holiday weekends always bring more traffic, both on the road and on foot. Be mindful of your surroundings and be sure to drive the speed limit. It’s also important to ensure everyone is buckled up, there are no distractions, like cellphones, and that you’re not tired.
The number one tip though is the obvious: don’t drink (or do drugs) and drive. Both are illegal and could be fatal.
Be water smart
Similar to being road smart, safety on the water is just as important. Never drive a boat while under the influence, and always be aware of your surroundings. There aren’t as many rules on the water as there are on the road, so it’s important to have heightened awareness to ensure everyone safe and having fun. Pack extra towels and lifejackets and be sure to have lots of water and sunscreen on hand.
Practice firework safety
Independence Day and fireworks go hand-in-hand, but in order to avoid injury, it’s crucial to know how to use them. Only purchase fireworks from a reputable source, and don’t let anyone under 18 use them. Here are a few more tips:
- Only light one firework at a time and maintain a safe distance from it
- Never point or throw a firework at another person
- Never hold a lit firework in your hand
- If handling fireworks, be sure to wear protective eyewear
- Keep a bucket of water on hand in case of fire
- Never light fireworks indoors
- Soak both used and unused fireworks in water before throwing them away
At the end of the day, the Fourth is a festive time to have some fun, but remember, safety never takes a holiday.